Playing sports is an important part of developing as a child. It builds physical, mental and social development. With different play levels and different sports, demands on the body can be high. For children with certain muscle or joint problems, sports can be demanding or even potentially dangerous. However, with the right training and knowledge, sports can be safe for all ages and play levels.
Here are tips on how to help prevent sports injuries with your child:
- Set the stage mentally. Explain to your child the rules, listening to their coach, other players and most importantly, listen to their body. The more control they can have mentally, the less apt they are to put themselves in a position for injury. In addition, helping your child to visualize the target of the sports activity helps your child understand what is expected of them in the team. For example, in soccer, discussing different scenarios, the object of passing to teammates, and the strategy of the game, can help the child understand where they need to be during certain parts of the game.
- Prepare physically. Even though children are more resilient than adults with their body, it is still important for them to warm up. Warming up before any sport is important. Ideally aerobic exercise such as running or walking is key before starting to stretch. A little bit of stretching goes a long way prior to the sports activity, but warm ups must be done before that.
- Conditioning. The body needs conditioning, especially in more active levels of sports. Attend practices so that your child can build up their muscle and endurance strengths. Also, playing different sports builds up different muscle groups and helps the body to function better. For example, don’t just play soccer, but try incorporating swimming or tennis.
- Teaching sportsmanship. Teaching your child to talk about their anger or problems on the field with their coach or you, helps to handle upsets. Children may make mistakes or put themselves in a position for injury if they are angrily pursuing a competing individual.
- Prior injuries. Whether your child has had a broken bone or sprain from a prior injury, it is important that you take extra care. Working with a physical therapist can help your child fully recover from a previous injury. Even a simple arm break, leaves muscles weak and joints stiff, that need help to rehabilitate. Physical therapists help your child recover from injuries and teach you what to do to prevent future injuries. Furthermore, bracing or taping suggestions and instruction might be given if the joint or muscles are not 100%.
Just because your child has special needs, doesn’t mean that they cannot participate in sports. Work with your therapists, coaches and local teams to find the right leagues and adaptations that can be made to help your child participate. Our occupational, speech and physical therapists can help you put an action plan together and work with your child to engage more in play and sports activities.
If your child has had an injury or you have questions about your child’s physical or mental health, give us a call today. We help children everyday reach their maximum potential.